SEO and the Google Business Model
As it’s increasingly relevant in today’s marketing, we want to revisit a topic we discussed a few years ago on our Youtube channel: SEO and the Google business model.
The modern era of the internet offers online access to nearly unlimited information. It seems every search input yields countless results. Ranking high on the Google search page can feel nearly impossible.
Well, you heard it here first: it’s entirely possible, if you’re willing to follow Google’s business model.
You Don’t Really Need Third-Party Companies
SEO may seem like an over-discussed topic within marketing.
But we’ve seen that it still isn’t widely understood. People, especially lawyers, have a limited view of how SEO works, why it’s important, and how to utilize it within their practice.
We get it; it’s hard to keep up. Best SEO practices are constantly evolving.
Website builders like Squarespace offer tools to help boost your SEO. They’re built for clean indexing by search engines. In fact, Squarespace provides an entire SEO checklist that gives tips on how to increase your website’s visibility on search engines like Google.
These SEO tools won’t do everything for you, though. If you fail to put in the work after that, your website won’t see the same numbers it did at the start.
We aren’t trying to discourage you from utilizing resources that will assist you with SEO. There are some fantastic search engine optimization gurus, companies, and vendors out there.
Despite many great SEO resources, there are still bad actors. Because the legal industry has money and affluence, there are people who see it as an easy industry to exploit. Scammers want a cut of that wealth, and these SEO gurus and website developers can charge a pretty penny.
These scammers are usually looking for one of two kinds of attorneys: those who feel like they’re in a slump in terms of finding clients, or those who have won big and want to keep that high going.
We give you this piece of advice: avoid them at all costs. We want to help you make informed decisions that will save you the trouble of getting scammed.
You don’t need to waste your time on these companies. Even with their help, you still need to put in the work and have a working knowledge of SEO to have a successful website.
SEO Through the Google Business Model Lens
Following the Google business model is essential to understanding SEO in a way that actually benefits your practice. Let’s examine how Google, as a search engine, works as a business (not Google’s many other streams of income).
Google doesn’t have the traditional “customer”. Its users, or the people who search on the platform, act as the customer in a traditional business model. There are two other kinds of “customers” involved as well: the advertiser and the content publisher.
Your law firm acts as a combination of the two. You’re advertising your services and your practice, as well as publishing content on your websites and social media platforms.
As in any business model, satisfying the customer to increase revenue is the top priority. In Google’s case, they keep customers satisfied by providing the most accurate and relevant results to whatever the user is searching.
If Google satisfies its customers, then they’ll continue to use the platform. Google will continue to gain their trust. When Google starts to suggest paid ads as solutions to users’ queries, they’ll be more likely to click. This is what pays Google’s bills.
The main point is this: The interests of Google drive SEO.
Know What Questions Your Clients are Asking
Google is more likely to recommend your website if you’re using the terms that your clients use most. That way, they’ll be able to provide your clients with those relevant and accurate answers, your client will be satisfied, and continue to use Google.
It’s a win-win. Google keeps a user, and you gain a potential client.
If that is how Google’s business model works, what we need to do is provide the very best answers to the questions that we hope to be answering. The questions that we hope to be answering are the questions that our potential clients are asking.
Learning what your demographic is searching for is essential to search engine optimization.
Here’s an example. Say a client is searching up an unusual legal term, like “subrogation”, in a car accident claim. This is ripe territory for personal injury lawyers and would be a great example of a term that you should use on your site.
Focusing on your practice area is a good start to understanding your demographic and terms/questions they will be searching.
Like everything we preach here at GLM, always keep your potential client in mind. Don’t create content just because it’s something that you talk about or that interests your practice. You may say things in the courtroom or use terms that aren’t client-friendly, and that are only used in the legal world.
Gear your content creation towards your ideal client.
The Main Point
Your job with SEO is to provide that information as the very best deliverable that Google can give to that searcher. That’s all of it.
A good rule of thumb: make sure people can view your content on all devices. More and more people are searching on mobile devices. Because of this, Google is going to look for mobile-optimized sites. If your site isn’t compatible with a cellphone, it certainly won’t show up high on the search pages.
As long as you understand Google’s business model, your website will show up higher on the search pages. You don’t really need to know the technicalities and science behind SEO.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Charley Mann
Charley is the Chief Marketing Officer at Great Legal Marketing and believes in results, Results, RESULTS!